An Innovative New Procedure for Chronic Ankle Instability

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A sprained ankle vs Chronic Ankle Instability
Many of us have experienced a sprained ankle at one point in our lives, which is when the ankle ligaments tear when you “turn” your ankle. Typically, this minor injury is treated with a splint, rest and staying off the ankle for a few days or weeks.

However, when you start having repeat sprained ankles, there could be a bigger issue occurring in your ankle – Chronic Ankle Instability. This condition is characterized by repeated, easy ankle sprains, “giving way” of the ankle, and ankle pain.

Patients with Chronic Ankle Instability are first treated with physical therapy to strengthen their ankle. Preventative measures like an external ankle brace or taping the ankle during sports are necessary. If the ankle damage is minor, typically these treatments are successful. Unfortunately, if the ligament is too badly damaged, persistent pain and reoccurring sprains are common, leading to cartilage damage and subsequent arthritis.

A new approach to Chronic Ankle Instability
Nicholas T. Gates, MD, an Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Specialist at OrthoCincy Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, has seen many patients struggle with Chronic Ankle Instability during his 20 years in practice.

“It can really impact your life,” says Dr. Gates. “Some of my patients are athletes who are struggling to return to their sport without repeated ankle sprains or pain. Other patients struggle with work or even daily life – they are afraid that a simple stress will cause another sprain.”

Dr. Gates knew there had to be a more impactful way to fix this problem. Working with sports surgeons from both the United States and Scotland, Dr. Gates and his colleagues developed the Internal Brace for Ankle Stabilization procedure, an innovative approach to treating Chronic Ankle Instability. The procedure is done in addition to a standard ankle repair procedure, allowing for augmentation of the repaired ankle ligaments. A heavy band is anchored into the bone upon the repaired native ligament.

This procedure transforms the patient’s experience by immediately restoring a functional ligament. The result? Significantly less pain and swelling, which in turn reduces recovery time by 50 percent. Patients can return to work and normal life in a matter of days, and athletes can return to their sports in as little as eight weeks after the ligament reconstruction.

“I have performed over 200 of these procedures,” says Dr. Gates. “No one in the region, and very few in the country, have this kind of experience. We’re proud to offer better, faster outcomes as the standard for ankle ligament construction at our practice.”

The Internal Brace procedure also eliminates the need for prolonged casting, crutches and immobility, which is typical in traditional ankle ligament repair.

Ankle sprains? We can help.
If you are struggling with an ankle injury or repetitive ankle sprains, call 859-301-2663 (BONE) to schedule an appointment with our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons at OrthoCincy Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to discuss if the Internal Brace can help get you back to your active lifestyle.